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tv   Book Discussion on Jonas Salk  CSPAN  September 27, 2015 1:00am-2:06am EDT

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physician researcher changed human history by inventing the polio vaccine.
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his work shaped the medical field as we know it and recently published this pioneer. today we are pleased doctor jacobs present along with his work and lessons learned from it and will begin conversation with janet napolitano the university of california former secretary of u.s. department of homeland security area and what they say a bit more about each. a graduate of the school of medicine in st. louis kurt jacobs in 1975 joined the
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faculty from 1970. she has received numerous awards for the contributions to medical education. doctor jacobs served as the associate dean for education and student affairs. in 1997 doctor jacobs was appointed rector of the clinical cancer center and she served as the director of the clinical cancer program for joint health care program. it's been noted and has held several positions in the cancer
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arena. she leaves the university system with ten campuses, five medical centers, three affiliated laboratories and a statewide agriculture program. as the president is napolitano has launched initiatives including financial stability for the university, focusing researchers resources she hopes the 2025 and the translation of the products and also implemented a fair work program the fear work program which helps establis the 15 million-dollar wage for employees and contract workers as the first for the public university.
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she was the first woman to serve as the secretary of the department of homeland security. president napolitano graduated from santa clara and received the doctorate a doctorate from the university of virginia law school. please welcome doctor charlotte jacobs who will be in conversation with janet napolitano. thanks to all who were in attendance and listening in for what is going to be a church that our conversation. we agree to call each other by
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our first names. i grew up in a time before the polio vaccine so i remember how frightening it was to see pictures of the magazines or newsreels of children's drug linked. it was an honest here. in 1954 they held a national trial looking at the efficacy of the vaccine. they chose a little over 200 towns and mine was selected as one of the sites so i was in the upper general trial.
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when the vaccine was a success she was the greatest hero of my generation so i set out to write one. let's work our way backwards a little bit in his beginnings and perhaps you could talk about his work before polio but he was doing with respect to influenza and what brought into the field of polio. he was unlikely to be a great physician scientist and was born in east harlem to an immigrant
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family. he was bright but not brilliant and he was shy yet he was brought in amniotic sac and was deemed for greatness and he believed her. he prayed for the child someday he could perform a noble deed so that it drove him over the -- all the way to medical school and after training the war broke out, pearl harbor was bombed. he had done some research with thomas francis and went to the university of michigan where thomas francis was rushing to make a vaccine. an epidemic was threatening the troops and prospectus triple
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memory with the spanish flu epidemic where almost as many men died of the flu as died in combat so they were rushing against time and at the two the two of them concocted and tested the first successful influenza vaccine for which i must say he didn't get a lot of credit so then he got himself a little stymied and he took a position at the university of pittsburgh and there he wanted to work on a universal vaccine that could take careful the different types of programs that but he was blocked by the senior scientists and so 1947 when harry was a talent scout invited him to join the attack on polio he joined the effort.
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>> there are names that have become recurrent throughout the biography and there are lots of very fascinating characters maybe you can describe for the audience who they were and how they fit in. who was he and why was he important? he worked for the works for the paralysis and was someone that facilitated and had an eye for talent and saw this researcher who was not for both himself and
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work on the march of dimes compared to others that would take their money and do what they wanted to do. so he was instrumental getting into that group working on the polio vaccine. but he wanted to see things move along and they had appointed a group of scientists who they were going to advise them about the best approach to polio but they were thinking about we have to understand a lot of the basic science and he saw this kind of race horse chomping at the bits not because he wanted fame that he could see beyond the
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microscope. every year people knew there was going to begin other polio summer they just didn't know where it would hit and who was going to be affected. >> o'connor was walter -- a law partner who saw himself working with fdr. he made a deal he would do all
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the work that they would have their name in the law firm. when fdr bought warm springs they said yes yes and then they had this idea of raising money to help the victims but then it all fell to his hands. he ran a foundation with everything had to go his way. >> they started the march of dimes to raise money for the polio vaccine. there is a difference between o'connor and jonas and they couldn't have been more different. o'connor was bombastic indicate
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exactly what he was thinking. he was strong and outspoken he was acclaimed individual is coming back early on the head time together and that is where in this kind of deep friendship they were crazy about each other and became lifelong friends and the little postcards and notes they send back and forth were very endearing that the whole friendship is through the entire book and i would say one of the most poignant parts for me is when their friendship for the part. >> and he had a daughter that had pouliot.
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>> they called him up and said i think i have one of your diseases but she survived into developed a nice friendship. many people thought that it was the sun and basal o'connor never had. the scientists didn't like their friendship as some of them were referred to as the chosen. you mentioned the march of dimes and medical research was funded very differently. talk about the march of dimes and the connection of the public to find a cure. someone is working on a book now called the march of dimes that was an incredible organization that will never happen again but the entire public wanted it to
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have a vaccine stop alito. they were behind it like they were behind a war in fact they call it the war on polio. the march of dimes was actually thought of by eddie cantu or as a concept and they began to have posters and if you had to die had a dime he wanted candy but you have to put it in a canister. everybody was behind it. the way to do that in the guard or the excitement of the public was amazing for me the march of dimes they found that almost all of the polio research, they funded the trial that we will get to put even more important to me is that it was carried out by the march of dimes volunteers coming off by the large research institute or research assistants. it was carried out by those
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healthwise that would involved in doing that in a mistrial and connecting all of the data into the data sheets as the public was so engaged. >> it is a universal national effort focused on one disease and we are going to get to the trial in a moment because that on this because the discussion what happened is an amazing story. two other names. >> she was part of the johns hopkins team working on polio and one of the first things that have to be done was figure out how many types of polio are there is the wrong mike batts or a hundred to change all the time like influenza which makes it didn't and difficult.
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they tried to find what techniques they were all going to use so they would agree how to test for the different types say he was listening to the board -- morgan. she talks about her experience into that she used a vaccine with a killed virus. everyone is arguing if this is just dirty and he is saying i can use a vaccine was killed virus because it did stimulate immunity. in the history of medicine most of the community believed only a vaccine -- they were all working towards having a live virus
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vaccine so they said i'm going to make a killed virus vaccine and it will work and he credited his adult morgan with that idea. >> she needs research shortly thereafter because there was no role for the woman at this time and left a quieter life than she might today. >> unfortunately that was for a lot of women scientists. >> that's why i wanted to pull her name out. everybody used to have to grow the polio virus in monkeys he came up with how to do it yourself culture which doesn't sound like much to us that he got a nobel prize for it.
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many people said he should have gotten more public. he wanted to work work or want to grow on it to grow the polio virus indicated that he also didn't believe it using. they are on the same line of the action. >> and i will come back to that later because i attribute that determination for the 1700 or lysed kids in boston. >> i want to get back to that. you mentioned a minute ago but thomas francis. he was different from most. he knew at the beginning he wanted to do research and not keep practicing the other.
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he said years later he was a nice presentable young man who wanted to tinker in the lab a little bit that he realized what a determined young man he was. he kind of exits the field and becomes a prominent epidemiologist and wasn't engaged but when it came time to the vaccine, they took it away and said you cannot be the person that runs were analyzes the trial. why did they do that? they thought people would be suspect if he tested his own vaccine and for the march of
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dimes that ran the red cross and ran the trial and thomas francis was selected to do. interestingly, thomas francis was a nasty statistician and wouldn't do anyone know what was going on. no preview i have time. his job was to follow him when talking. he found out the morning behind they started to talk that the trial had been a success. he had been a polio victim and you have the nations schoolchildren and everyone else
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raising the time. everyone is trying to find a vaccine but there have been some in places like homes for children with disabilities and prisons etc. that the trial everyone thinks of now is the 1954 trial. maybe explain the scope of the trial. this was one of the biggest in the history of medicine certainly in the united states. it was conducted solely on children of 211 sites around the united states and over 1.5 million children participated that's astronomical
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there were too going on at the same time. the major trialist children were randomized between a placebo or the vaccine into his double blinded so no one knew who got what. housewives ring the trail and were the ones responsible for determining who got what and collecting collecting the data and that boggles my mind and in the second part of the trial because they already put some of the states they could do it that way everybody in the second grade got the vaccine in those towns and they were compared to the first creatures in third. that's what happened in my hometown so i knew i got the vaccine. it was an incredible trial and carry out magnificently. >> i have a picture of francis and his team of statistics gatherers picking up the cars being sent to promote the
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country assembling the data and analyzing it for months. there were no computers this is all hand written stuff coming into ann arbor and they select april 121955 to announce the results of the trial which is a significant day for another reason. >> that was the death of fdr. francis said i selected the date because it gave me the choice of five days and that was the longest to do the analysis. all of the naysayers said that it was for publicity and they said he chose the date for sure. >> so ann arbor michigan everyone was paying attention. what was he going to announce and this is a marvelous section
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about. can you get a little flavor of how organized it was? like that's not the way that scientific advances the scientific advances to find out about them what you normally would have done this if you have returned the results he would have given a talk about it and made the news. there were hundred 50 reporters with the cameras and equipped in the back of the stage and they were promised they could get the results ahead of time they were upstairs waiting to be hit to keep it secret. you can imagine it was a free-for-all, immediately got on the tapes and everything else
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and started saying -- his excuse was that it was too good to keep secrets of upstairs chaos is going on and it starts down stairs. thomas francis gave an hour-long presentation in a very measured scientific way going through the methods etc. so 45 minutes into it, he said now the result and everybody went crazy when the happy incidents us by about 80% of the world went crazy. people were honking horns and there were sirens going, there were prayer meetings.
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he honestly thought that the next day he would go back home and go to the laboratory to start doing research. he didn't have a clue that he had just become the world of celebrity. >> in fact they pulled him aside at the end and said basically i'm sorry this has happened you discovered the cure for polio because now you've lost your anonymity. another thing that happened in the midst of all of this he thinks o'connor that he forgets to think or act which his team. >> hewitt published them that's not my name. he said of the ones the ones who worked on it and they were all
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fairly devastated and very angry in fact most left afterwards. there were all made about five of them working on this whole vaccine. just to show you how angry they are i already got an angry letter from the sons of one of the people that worked there. i had no idea where he was and he was saying some pretty nasty things. afterwards he tried to retract. he felt bad about it when he was given a presidential citation again he tried to mention them but the damage in their mind had been done. their names were not on the publication but neither was his. can you imagine that, they were but salk wasn't. but again they were very angry and the only living relative is
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angry today. >> soap opera that someone that comes across as angry throughout the whole book. they both have very similar backgrounds from poor jewish immigrant families. describe the source of the animosity and the intensity that it has. >> his daughter spent an enormous out of time talking with me. i got it from both sides and they were all pretty much in agreement if the children have become friends so this was one of the great political feuds and history and it into poverty because it wasn't really true. they acted as a mentor and they would send notes back and forth
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to each other, they would stay up late talking to each other right after midnight but he believed that most scientists think you have to make a live vaccine virus work and he didn't really take his hand. everybody thought he was right great in lockstep behind him on the way to make this vaccine that was going to take several years. ..
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>> >> but a the scientists still believe the salk was the stopgap until they have built or '05 vaccine for cozy been tested one in russia it was safe and effective. >> in the middle of the cold war. >> and in the early 1960's
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the public health service recommended switching to use the back seat to fight the cost was much more cheaper and convenient to get it in a sugar cube but basic scientist were working beneath that there was politics as well. salk was very upset tried to get that decision reversed. he worried it would cause polio and all major medical decision makers fda ama and cdc turned against him. by 1968 no one made that salk back seat in the united states anymore. so he spends the rest of his life tried to get the vaccine licensed because in fact, people did get polio. it was a small number the scientific community was
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behind them so salk became tenacious to reverse that decision. that is where the rivalry really started to heat up but salk never set a bad word about say bin. >> but he was bombastic of very well-known in the scientific community very well respected and gave a lot of grief to salk. >> of the overside. >> there were not too many on salk side they're all on the side of sabin. >> but sabin made some big mistakes as well with his own research. have a wooded uss the value of the vaccine today that
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which was are in current use? >> it has an interesting history as time went on salk worked with the company in france to make a better new were version killed vaccine virus said that actually actually, the sabin vaccine it was taken off but that was four years after salk now is the only one used in the united states it is very ironic we will probably get rid of it some day because of both vaccines they both roll over right now because there were not friends toward the end of their lives. because the oral vaccine is much easier to give and much less expensive so in third world countries that is used it has been responsible for
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many, many improvements but in 2014 for her to 14 cases of polio or around the world. 55 were caused by the vaccine. so it can revert so clearly cannot get rid of it forever with the oral vaccine. so with the initiative witches of wonderful initiative has the three step process individually after they get the last case gone then they will switch back to only have the salk and retire the sabin vaccine that is what everybody today gets. >> there was an article in "the new york times" last
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week they are down to one last case they found in africa. >> but unfortunately that was afghanistan. >> your listen to the commonwealth club of california program our guest is charlotte jacobs of the revenue biography of "jonas salk" inventor of the polio vaccine. janet napolitano president of the university of california and in your moderator. check up with the soviets to channel as well. -- with the you to channel as well. so that dispute neither one won the nobel prize. >> no just one last thing
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before i forget because it is telling but jonas salk said i hope someday biographer will oppose the rivalry is too little jewish boys from the bronx fighting it out. [laughter] >> and you did not. but dr. anders at harvard won the nobel right to the middle of the trial for discovering you could grow the virus. >> it didn't matter because in terms of cultures it was a major step forward for signs. >> host: but in terms of polio. >> but jonas salk never got the prize but was nominated
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multiple times called the liberation of committees but last year or the year before some of that information was made public that a book was written in the section on what happened to jonas salk. there was of 5 million committee and a swedish scientist who was on that committee he did not like jonas salk but he could not reproduce his results and right after the salk vaccine came now there was an industrial accident were quite a number of children got polio because of vaccine was not inactivated correctly and blame that on salk to say he did not make a discovery of any merit then said we have to wait for the trial he said that was successful but it could
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have happened another way. not a major scientific discovery but salk told the scientist doesn't matter because everybody thinks i got the nobel prize. [laughter] but more egregious, because i am not sure relic that the definition if he really was a candidate but the national academy of sciences he was blackballed and to me that is egregious those records are not available but i did interview people few were around at that time and one person could block it one dash blackball them and ensure it is sabin but he never got into the national academy in relatively little recognition from the scientific community that is the question that i had that drove me to write the book.
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why? >> so i know a little bit about politics in reading this between the scientists can give you gray hair. they are intense. go ahead. >> so first year he was the young scientist he tested the vaccine behind their backs to challenge the tenet that was held out alive the virus. number two tuesday he would grab the limelight in did not mention the other scientists to the other big ones not his lab. salk tried to but they made him the icon the public
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didn't want to hear about the others but they heard about jonas salk he was a media star. and they really didn't like that but the third, this ties into what you centcom but he reached out to the public in the way scientists did not do he felt the public wanted the trial and were behind it and he owed it to them to answer every single letter into parent magazine and good housekeeping he would show the public how to make a vaccine using your blunder that did not sit well with scientists to build walls around academia so he was accused of his academic decorum was sent good a and pay and to the media but they said he garnered more
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celebrity in almost any scientist may be with the exception of pasteur. don't discount jealousy is strong in the field of medicine in and science. >> also never made a member of the national academy he did not even get admitted to the institute of medicine to the very end of his life because he saved half a million children from getting polio. that is all he did. that same dynamic. >> they just roll back he is a member. >> host: when we talk about the politics, he is
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also involved at the time of television is in every household the media landscape is changing rapidly. you have a huge media campaign with the march of dimes is almost like crab sourcing to raise the money for the vaccine and the other scientist just seem to be clueless when it means for the future of medicine and medical research did you feel he was prescient in that regard? >> he had a funny relationship with the media and learned very early how he could use them when he needed to. idea their hand they drove him crazy. somebody would put a microphone in front of him what did you have before
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breakfast? he didn't want to talk to his personal life he had a love-hate relationship but he was always kind and generous to the media. >> very open. you mentioned his personal life so i will switch to that. a workaholic the members of the lab were similarly working all the time it was a huge deal but how do describe how he had a personal life or had time for one? then let's move on to what he does after. >> no. there wasn't much of a personal life. his wife was a very accomplished woman and a social worker who really believed in him although that got tiring after a while.
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his three sons barely saw him but the media had pictures of their reading to them and a barbecue and by the time the rich teenagers there were all sent to boarding schools there was so much celebrity because they had a legendary father and husband there were celebrities by association and the wife could not handle that they ended in divorce. >> so he goes back to pittsburgh and international celebrity president eisenhower was choked up to recognize him at a ceremony in the rose garden he led the allied forces in world war ii in chokes up over jonas salk. endeavor saw eye-to-eye after he came back and he
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wants a new thing to work on and a new project and becomes interested in how you unite science with human evolution and moves out to california the founding of the salk institute. >> they were talking about this ever since they met as well was not a total new idea but then there is a book called the two cultures that sparked this. he wanted the institute were scientist and humanist work side-by-side with viewing the science with the conscience of may and it provided enormous spending he hired lewis content designed the institute that they placed on the bluff
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overlooking the ocean. fabulous. he could attract outstanding scholars nobel prize laureates, everything will be wonderful and he faced nothing but problems. and architect who had more fun dreaming and drawing even the institute's held his own skills were lacking there were always on the brink of bankruptcy. he had a falling out with o'connor that was paid full later the president that i could raise more money with salk dead than alive and he heard that. but the most painful thing to him was that the science would trump the humanity it became a scientific institute and later when they said aren't you happy?
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he said i am only half happy >> always thinking ahead. >> battle dinkey ever watched television or any of that. he would just work. >> keywords socialize with women's. >> okay. [laughter] i was not looking for this. i was talking to john who wrote a wonderful history and out of the blue said how will you deal with the skirt chasing? i said what? when carter rebook on the history of polio i said i cannot mention that. then i saw on the internet a woman was talking all the time she spent with jonas salk and a broker heart that led from one person to
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another and i begin to hear stories. but they were all about that in later life he was much of a philosopher he had a lot of ideas but he couldn't express himself in ways that were extensible to the public so restarted to look for people who would be his torchbearers who were young and bright and attractive women. was started off on the intellectual plane at some point would devolve into a physical relationship i really did not know whether to include this or not. i pestered my husband and my friends but i heard so many biographers our criticized for withholding parts of
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people's lives it is a full life so i think it showed he was human. he was not a saint as he was portrayed by the public and was a very solitary lonely man searching for a special connection with someone in never seemed to find it. he did tell one of his friends that was a close friend of his wife, i learned very early that everybody has to get into their pants one lady at a time as if i am human also. >> but it struck me having basically not being blackballed but shunned by the scientific establishment, the awards he got robbed the civilian side not on the scientific side he was always looking for
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approval or validation wherever he could find it. >> that is interesting and had a lot of interviews with a friend of his that is a psychiatrist. to sabalo lovely lady on my arm. his son who is a psychiatrist but he never could find that special connection. >> one of my favorite biographies.
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>> and a french artist and besides her art became quite well known british she published a very popular book which i detail her years with picasso. jonas salk our free man after his divorce met her at the salk institute and showed no interest initially but he had a great interest in art and architecture. so he pursued her and she told me the story of when he proposed in said i don't see a reason to get married he said here is a piece of paper and write down all the things that would have to happen to make it work. he left the room and came back he looked at the list
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since and i can do all of these but she did tell read them all but one that she could spend six months to year in france or in her studio in new york painting mostly alone because she was very career driven. friends were shocked he married her to begin with but then they realized he looked healthier and happier he ever had and started to do things he had longed for hair and he got into yoga his sister-in-law said she frenchified him. [laughter] but over the years ever more intellectual than affectionate and i thought
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that was telling. i will go back perk --. she cuts to the chase to tell it like it is and jonas salk is horrified is and how did you end up with two of the most famous men in history? is one of her favorite quotes mellon she was interviewed they asked about how she enjoyed being and the salk institute she said if not for my husband wouldn't spend five minutes then lodge all of. the press did not like her. [laughter] but. >> they were together and tell his dad and they had
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their deal. as couples do at the salk institute he hasn't architect he is constantly having to raise money it is now working out but he still has a lab still trying to use data research game series that shows he knows nothing about modern molecular biology so you were to run multiple sclerosis and was well regarded but hit a blind
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alley had any therapeutic that caused the reaction but after he was retired from the salk institute he was sad and thought that was the end of his scientific career and was busy writing philosophical books and the disease is hitting young gay men nobody knows about it so he put out his armor to charge right into the aids arena and it was amazing some of the people said really? this old guy? what is he doing here? but other people thought he did credible work and formed a company to may a vaccine a therapeutic vaccine to delay the time a person with hiv
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and full-blown aids. and actually it is under evaluation today as a more of a -- march -- modern version but now there are regulations with the fda and he was in a time warp was very difficult for him and he was arguing with the fda about starting a national trial of this vaccine when he died. and he was 80. >> still trying to do good which was something that was instilled in him from childhood. do you think there's the
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opportunity for a scientist for what salk did? >> i doubt it. i tried to compare at one point if he tried to make a vaccine to day first there is basic science work there is no march of dimes board the ferry he would have to write a grant getting 16 percent were funded. but had he been unable to get that money he would have to go through the investigation in drug application all the animal trials and right then and
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there he was working on monkeys the animal protection people were breathing down his neck. he never in secret could do his work because you cannot do secret research with national funding then would have to go through all phases of clinical trials in children? really? the protection for children is enormous even the investigation drug application it is about 20 pages compared to the one paragraph for his initial trial. then he would have faced all those against vaccination. my husband is in the biotech world calculated it would take 500 million or $1 billion beginning to end
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and probably take 10 years but salk made his vaccine 3-1/2 months and it was even licensed that very day. the answer is i doubt it. [laughter] >> is different better? >> it was a different historical tide you cannot do that now. the protection walls went up then they should but there has to be a way to expedite research when it is critically important for the national good. that helps to move things along more quickly. >> host: this is one of the disputes that to see beyond the microscope that
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isn't just about the science but getting in preventing children from getting polio getting to the point as quickly as possible. what are the lessons learned ? . .
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